This is a very involved and complicated tutorial but when you have mastered this and you have the template file all set up, it will make mass production of super cute boxes like the Cupcake Box I used as an example a breeze! So all the effort will be worth it! Trust me!
I just want to add a disclaimer that since Printers, Die-cutting Machines and their Software all differ I cannot guarantee the results but I recommend adapting this tutorial to your specific circumstances.
I recently became the proud owner of a Cricut Expression. Now as a hybrid crafter it was not long before I saw the amazing possibilities of incorporating digital designs with my digital die-cutting machine. One great feature about the Silhouette Cutter is the ability to do a Print and Cut (i.e. Print a Digital Design and using your Die-cutting Machine to cut out the shape). The Cricut does not have this capability but after stumbling across this Tutorial by Kay Hall I started thinking on how to work around this feature. The method she described is wonderful and works like a bomb but I have found that for more intricate cuts the following method works better.
You will need the following supplies:
- Photo Editing Software
- Vector Drawing Program (Inkscape is a free version and can be downloaded HERE)
- Digital Die-cutter and compatible software.
- Cupcake Box by Kelleigh Ratzlaff
- Fresh Cut – the Collection a TDC Collaboration
- Polar Matte Photo Paper by Red River
- Metal Ruler
- Bone Folder
- Embellishments (Flowers and Buttons)
Open up your Template in your Photo Editing Software. Select the layer that has the complete template. Adjust that layer so it is black. I used my levels function and just moved the black triangle all the way to the right.
Open up your Vector Drawing Program and the JPEG you just created. Trace your image.
Here is a quick tutorial for Inkscape users – Tracing.
I used Illustrator’s default settings.
You will notice there are 2 paths in your layers palette. One is the bounding box around the image and the other is the actual path. Select the bounding box and delete it.
You should have only one path in your layers palette as shown here.
Save as SVG to use in Die-cutting Software, or use the format specified for your specific cutter.
Copy (CTRL+C) the Path and Paste (CTRL+V) it into your template file in your Photo Editing Software.
Paste as Smart Object…if you select that option you can double click on the icon and edit the path in Illustrator.
Before I start clipping my papers to the template I need to do a few more things. I select all the layers I wish to use for this template and the Smart Object/Path I just pasted in the document.
Then I resize them. You will see in a minute why I need to do this. I used 95% x95%.
I then select Image – Trim. Click OK.
Next I select Image – Image Size. Write down the Width and Height of your template in inches.
Select UNDO (CTRL+Z). Save this document as a .PSD/Layered File in a new location/a different name, do not overwrite your original template.
Select EDIT – Preferences – Units and Rulers and set the Rulers to Inches.
Next select View and make sure Rulers are ticked/selected. Then also enable Grid by going to View – Show – Grid.
Make sure all the layers you have selected in STEP 4 is still active/selected. Create a Horizontal and Vertical Guide in your document at the following coordinates: x: 0.5 inches and y: 0.5 inches. Be sure to write down these values too. To create a guide use your Move Tool and drag from the Ruler area in the top or left area of your document.
With your active layers move them so the top left corner of the bounding boxes align with the guides on your document. Zoom in as close as possible to make sure your layers are placed accurately.
Move the Smart Object/Path down in your layers palette so it is beneath all your layers you wish to customize. Add a stroke by either clicking on the Functions – Stroke or in PSE select Edit – Stroke. Set the size to 20px…the color does not matter.
Right click on the style icon in your layers palette and select create layer. Clip your paper to this layer and hide the Smart Object/Path. Decorate your template as desired. Your final image will be slightly larger than the resized template but this is just to ensure there is a margin for error.
I prefer to add a Crop mark so I don’t have to eyeball it too much! Select your basic brushes and the 1px hard brush and using the guide lines draw a line from the one point to the other to create an almost inverted l shape. Flatten your image and save. Print it out and now we will moving on to our Digital Die-cutter.
Open up your Die-cutting machines compatible software. I use Make the Cut for Cricut. Just a note…although this specific software has an excellent tracing capability built in I prefer to do the tracing in a third party program because I have more control over the final image/path.
Select the correct mat size you will be using.
Insert your SVG File you saved earlier.
Insert the Width and Height values you wrote down in STEP 4. Also make sure your X and Y values correspond to the ones you wrote down.
Save this document since you can re-use this project…you have set everything up now it is time to start cutting and getting your hands dirty!
Make sure your Digital Die-cutting machine is connected to your computer. Place your printed template onto your mat and use the crop marks to align the template for cutting.
Load your mat and start cutting.
As noted before, the downside with this is that it will not always cut 100% perfectly but for the convenience of not picking up scissors and actually cutting it out I am happy to make that concession. Plus as noted before, this is great if you want to do this for mass production (i.e. more than one in my opinion!)
Score and fold your cupcakes. Adhere the cupcake according to instructions.
To add a little ‘fluff’ to the cupcake I roll the top flaps over a round object so they are curly and add some dimension when the cupcake is assembled.
Here is a finished cupcake…so cute!
Other Articles by Mari Koegelenberg:
- Envelope Travel Album - June 23rd, 2011
- The Doilie Project goes Hybrid! - July 12th, 2010
- Easy Printable Christmas Advent Calendar - December 4th, 2009
- Trick or Treat!!! - October 30th, 2009
- Halloween Banner - October 28th, 2009